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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Putting the Pieces Together: Creating Impact

During our 2020–2021 fiscal year, CCSA produced timely evidence and tools firmly rooted in science and sound methodology while dealing with a pandemic. These resources were guided by the experiences and perspectives of partners and stakeholders from across Canada and around the globe. We assembled the “puzzle pieces” to create the picture and drive coordinated action to make a real impact on the ground.

We helped people in Canada lead healthier, safer and more productive lives by providing guidance, information and solutions to address the harms of problematic substance use.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic

We are committed to listening to the many different voices from across Canada. The ongoing pandemic highlights the need to leverage each other’s strengths for even more coordinated and timely responses to issues of substance use and addiction. We informed decision makers, care providers and the Canadian public of the most recent developments in COVID-19 research related to substance use by building up our COVID-19 resource hub. By the end of March 2021, it included more than 150 resources from around the world.

Opioids

COVID-19 amplified the harms of opioid use. There were almost 25,000 emergency department visits and 11,000 hospitalizations related to opioid use between March and September 2020. Those were increases of eight and seven per cent, respectively, compared with the same months in 2019.
We continued our efforts in combatting the opioid crisis by:

  • Codesigning seven opioid treatment approach prototypes with Improving Treatment Together participants in Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Building on our 2019 work to develop the Ottawa Community Action Plan to address mental health and substance use with a focus on opioids.
  • Focusing on opioid overdose in physically demanding workplaces, such as the trades and construction. This led to the release of the Substance Use and the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades Toolkit during the summer of 2021.

Gambling

During our fiscal year, CCSA worked closely with provincial gambling authorities and agencies around the world to gather data on the harms of gambling. This included:

  • Feedback from more than 10,000 people in Canada;
  • Interviews and focus groups with people who gamble from across Canada; and
  • Ongoing consultation with more than 20 people who work in harm reduction, treatment and gambling programs.

The world’s first Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines was released in September 2021 using this data.

Strengthening the Workforce

We supported employers as well as service providers in delivering quality services and care by updating our Technical and Behavioural Competencies for Canada’s Substance Use Workforce. The update includes the latest evidence and input from people with lived and living experience of substance use, academics, clinicians, provincial and territorial government representatives, and direct service providers.

Stigma

We produced resources to help the public and service providers reduce stigma and promote access to the care people need by producing the first in a series of online learning modules: The Pain of Stigma: Recognizing Stigma and its Impact.

Moving Forward

Our recently developed five-year strategic plan, Focused on the Future: Strategic Plan 2021–2026,will allow us to continue “putting the pieces together” by listening to our partners and stakeholders, and by following the evidence. Driven by compassion, we will continue advancing initiatives that reduce harms, improve wellness and increase community safety across Canada.

View annual reports from previous years:

2019-2020 Informing Change: CCSA Annual Report, 2019-2020
2018-2019 Evidence in Action: CCSA Annual Report, 2018-2019
2017-2018 Clear Perspectives on Substance Use and Addiction
2016-2017 Real Need – Real Action

 

Featured Resource

The COVID-19 Pandemic

We are committed to listening to the many different voices from across Canada. The ongoing pandemic highlights the need to leverage each other’s strengths for even more coordinated and timely responses to issues of substance use and addiction. We informed decision makers, care providers and the Canadian public of the most recent developments in COVID-19 research related to substance use by building up our COVID-19 resource hub. By the end of March 2021, it included more than 150 resources from around the world.

Opioids

COVID-19 amplified the harms of opioid use. There were almost 25,000 emergency department visits and 11,000 hospitalizations related to opioid use between March and September 2020. Those were increases of eight and seven per cent, respectively, compared with the same months in 2019.
We continued our efforts in combatting the opioid crisis by:

  • Codesigning seven opioid treatment approach prototypes with Improving Treatment Together participants in Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Building on our 2019 work to develop the Ottawa Community Action Plan to address mental health and substance use with a focus on opioids.
  • Focusing on opioid overdose in physically demanding workplaces, such as the trades and construction. This led to the release of the Substance Use and the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades Toolkit during the summer of 2021.

Gambling

During our fiscal year, CCSA worked closely with provincial gambling authorities and agencies around the world to gather data on the harms of gambling. This included:

  • Feedback from more than 10,000 people in Canada;
  • Interviews and focus groups with people who gamble from across Canada; and
  • Ongoing consultation with more than 20 people who work in harm reduction, treatment and gambling programs.

The world’s first Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines was released in September 2021 using this data.

Strengthening the Workforce

We supported employers as well as service providers in delivering quality services and care by updating our Technical and Behavioural Competencies for Canada’s Substance Use Workforce. The update includes the latest evidence and input from people with lived and living experience of substance use, academics, clinicians, provincial and territorial government representatives, and direct service providers.

Stigma

We produced resources to help the public and service providers reduce stigma and promote access to the care people need by producing the first in a series of online learning modules: The Pain of Stigma: Recognizing Stigma and its Impact.

Moving Forward

Our recently developed five-year strategic plan, Focused on the Future: Strategic Plan 2021–2026,will allow us to continue “putting the pieces together” by listening to our partners and stakeholders, and by following the evidence. Driven by compassion, we will continue advancing initiatives that reduce harms, improve wellness and increase community safety across Canada.

View annual reports from previous years:

2019-2020 Informing Change: CCSA Annual Report, 2019-2020
2018-2019 Evidence in Action: CCSA Annual Report, 2018-2019
2017-2018 Clear Perspectives on Substance Use and Addiction
2016-2017 Real Need – Real Action

 

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